Here at DiscovHER HEALTH, we care about treating women with HIDRADENITIS SUPPURATIVA.

HS starts around puberty and may disappear between 50 to 60 years old. Although more common in women than men, it is more severe in men. In women, it often flares before the monthly period. Most patients have the mildest form of HS (70% of HS patients). Patients with mild disease have a few painful spots for a few weeks, followed by periods of weeks or months with no problems.

What is Hidradenitis Suppurativa?

Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is a chronic (long term) skin disease with recurrent painful, red lumps that look like “boils”. These appear suddenly, increase in size rapidly, and then break under the skin, or drain to the surface, forming painful cysts, sinuses, blackheads, and scars. It affects the hair follicles in the hot, moist, sweat gland-bearing areas on the vulva, under the arms, breasts, groin, and buttocks.HS is sometimes referred to as “inverse acne” because it can look like severe cystic acne usually seen on the face, chest and back in teenagers. This condition is not rare. It affects up to 1 in 300 people. It is more common in women than in men.

About 25% of patients have moderate HS, with repeated painful red “boil” like spots in one or more areas. These spots can break and drain and reform. Scars can develop. Patients with the most severe HS (4% of HS patients) have outbreaks of painful spots continuously. They develop large areas of constantly painful, swollen, draining areas with scarring. Their day-to-day activities may be limited due to the pain.

Causes of Hidradenitis Suppurativa

This condition is caused by an inherited tendency for blockage of the ducts leading to the skin pores. The hair follicles and sebaceous (grease) glands drain their content through “ducts” to tiny openings on the skin surface, called “pores”. When the ducts are blocked, sweat and grease and bacteria build up to form painful “cysts” & tunnels beneath the skin surface. The oil ducts and hair follicles eventually explode sideways underneath the skin, causing irritation and inflammation that eventually lead to scarring.

Recommendations for Hidradenitis Suppurativa

For women, it can be helpful to reduce testosterone. This can be done using certain birth control pills or other medications.
Avoid rubbing, pinching, or squeezing in the areas where you have recurrent spots. These skin pores are weak and break easily, causing more swelling and pain. Avoid underwear with seams that rub. Wear clothing such as boxer shorts that is loose and cool so that you are not overheated or sweaty.
Stop smoking as well as the use of any nicotine product. Nicotine stimulates plugging of the pores. Toxins in smoke could interfere with proper healing.
If overweight, try to get down to your ideal weight.
Antiseptic washes can help with odor and drainage.
Antibiotics can help to decrease inflammation. They can be used for periods of weeks or months. They can be given: (a) By direct application to the skin (topical), (b) By mouth (systemic)
Zinc gluconate with copper can be given orally for an anti- inflammatory effect.
Surgical treatment is important: (a) If there are spots that keep recurring or breaking down, they are usually due to foreign material trapped under the skin, in cysts or tunnels, referred to as sinuses. They have to be surgically opened. These areas will heal over in 2-3 weeks. (b) For the most severe Hurley’s stage III disease, the treatment is surgical and requires the help of a knowledgeable surgical team.
Treatment depends on severity. Treatment may involve medications used on the skin or taken orally. Surgery may be necessary in later stages.

See ONE OF OUR EXPERTS if you have any of the problems with this condition.
The recommended treatment will depend on the your symptoms and your overall health.
To make the best decision for you, discuss the risks and benefits with us.

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